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Begun-the drone wars have_MKII.
Drones, parrots & singing canaries - Rolleyes 

Via ZDNet:

[Image: 5a611976e494f2e85c49b9e4-1280x7201jan182...poster.jpg]

How Australia's government-by-parrot is flying backward on drones
If Australia wants to be a leading digital economy, the government must plan ahead with a clear head, not just react to the latest tabloid scare campaigns.
[Image: stilgherrian.jpg]

By Stilgherrian for The Full Tilt | January 19, 2018 -- 03:16 GMT (14:16 AEDT) | Topic: Innovation

It's a cliché, but the law really does lag behind the development of new technologies. Government agencies often see the need for change, and at least start the ball rolling. But the politicians don't seem to notice until things become, well, political.

That needs to change.

The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), an employers' lobby group that claims to represent the interests of "more than 60,000 businesses", highlighted a key example recently: Drones.

"Drones are becoming more ubiquitous and play an important role as part of the industrial IoT ecosystem for observation, data gathering, and increasingly logistics," the Ai Group wrote in their 
submission [PDF] to the current consultation on developing a national Digital Economy Strategy.

Goldman Sachs, they write, estimated in 2016 that the total spending on commercial drones in Australia will be around 
$3.9 billion over the next five years. According to that report, the uses for drones include firefighting, aerial inspection of infrastructure such as pipelines and power grids, and monitoring crops.

It's no surprise, therefore, that in the same year Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) decided to 
update the safety regulations for drones. They came into force at the end of September 2016.

"CASA recognised that this was a necessary decision that reflects a modernisation of outdated regulations to keep up with rapid advances in drone technology," Ai Group wrote.

But just two weeks after those new regulations came into force, the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee launched a 
fresh inquiry into drone safety. It is due to report on March 28, 2018.

Earlier, in April 2016, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry had also 
called [PDF] for an inquiry into emerging technology for the agricultural sector, including "telecommunications, remote monitoring and drones, plant genomics, and agricultural chemicals".

It's hardly surprising that industry has been frustrated by this seemingly scattergun approach to legislating for a key new technology.

"While there may be legitimate public concerns around drones, the alarm and reactive response from parts of government and the public highlights a bigger issue: the role of government in managing the social risks and disruptions associated with new technology," Ai Group wrote.

"It is important for regulators to be mindful that we have been through similar experiences before with other technological advances like automobiles, telephones and cameras, and more broadly industrial revolutions. As history and experience has shown with these technologies, as the public became more exposed to their presence and practicality, they not only accepted it, but embraced the positive impact that these technologies have had to their lives. Many initial concerns and fears were resolved or proved groundless, and regulation focussed on specific genuine and continuing risks, such as traffic safety or interception of telecommunications."

This is true. But on the other hand, the human species has a history of forging ahead with new technologies, and only later discovering and addressing the safety risks. I've written previously about how technology doesn't get regulated properly until 
people start to die, and how the Australian government itself has been reckless with personal data.

"Drones are yet to reach that full public comfort, and similar concerns are being expressed about other emerging technologies such as AI, robots and driverless vehicles," Ai Group wrote.

"While regulation has a role in addressing reasonable public concerns around security, safety, privacy, and environmental issues, there are also often alternative approaches to the regulatory 'stick'. In the case of drones these include technology-based responses such as geo-fencing and collision avoidance. Regulatory barriers should only be introduced where there are clear net community benefits."

Referring to regulations as "barriers" is predictable industry propaganda, of course. Food safety regulations, for example, shouldn't be seen as "barriers". The food processing industry shouldn't be seen as having a right to sell dodgy lasagne. Nor should the existence of magic technology -- when it even exists -- be seen as obliterating the need for industry to be required by law to use that technology to meet specific safety targets, and be required to prove that they've implemented it properly.

These predictable industry calls for less regulation need to be tempered with proper consideration of safety risks, and the effect of new technology on society generally. That's part of what governments are for.

Indeed, that's what government ministers and their staffers are for.
Ministers need to understand how technological trends will affect their portfolio. They need to lead the policy debate, following best-practice processes that will lead to rational policy responses.

Reacting like startled budgies to tabloid media scare campaigns isn't good enough.

Alas, these days government ministers are little more than expensive parrots, endlessly squawking the day's party-political talking points without understanding them, in the hope they'll flap their way up the greasy political ladder to ring their little bells on the top perch.

What say you #HVH?  Shy

 I thought so too - Big Grin

MTF...P2 Tongue
More on lifesaving drones - Wink

Via the FT:

Australia’s lifesavers make waves with use of rescue drones

Technology becomes popular tool deployed by first responders


A yellow flotation device is dropped from a flying drone toward two teenagers caught in a riptide in heavy seas off the Australian coast © AP

Jamie Smyth in Sydney

When two swimmers got into trouble at an Australian beach last week, onlookers held grave fears for their safety. But the quick thinking of local lifeguards resulted in what authorities billed as the world’s first ocean rescue by a drone.

“One of our trainees flew the drone 850m up the beach, spotted the swimmers and deployed an inflatable rescue pod, enabling them to get back to shore,” says Mark Phillips, a drone pilot who was training surf lifesavers on the use the devices nearby. “It took about 70 seconds while our land-based lifesavers got there in five minutes.”

The rescue at Lennox Head beach, south of Brisbane, highlights how drone technology is changing the world of lifesaving and is becoming a popular tool deployed by first responders such as firefighters, lifeguards and mountain rescue.

China’s Dà-Jiāng Innovations Science and Technology (DJI), the world’s largest civilian drone maker, last year published a report identifying 59 instances when drones have helped rescue people from life threatening situations.

These include finding 19 missing people in terrain ranging from snowbanks to mountains and swamps, as well as delivering rescue ropes and life jackets to people during floods.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg, many instances go unreported,” says Kevin On, director of communications at DJI.

He says many life-saving organisations are adapting DJI’s larger drones by adding drop boxes to deploy life jackets or bottles of water. “By attaching a thermal imaging camera to our drones, search and rescue teams are able to identify people that are lost when hiking in the wild or in difficult terrain in remote areas,” says Mr On.

Quote:"..In the broader disaster relief situations, drones could deliver medicine, food or water and vital information to rescuers.." - Eddie Bennet, chief executive of Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver group

In July a mountain rescue team in Lochaber, Scotland, used a drone to help locate a missing, injured female hiker on the Sgurr á Bhuic mountains. A month earlier a drone found two lost hikers and their dog in the Pike National Forest in Colorado within two hours of being dispatched by rescue teams.

Drones can often be deployed quicker than helicopters and get closer to the ground to search for missing people. They are also significantly cheaper to buy and operate, with a standard commercial drone costing several thousand dollars.

An added benefit of drones is their ability to respond to natural disasters and operate in dangerous situations without putting human lifesavers at risk, says Lian Pin Koh, director of Adelaide University’s Unmanned Research Aircraft Facility.

“Using drones for disaster response is gaining significant traction. By attaching sophisticated thermal imaging cameras to a drone it is possible to detect people under rubble,” he says.

In September the American Red Cross teamed up with drone maker CyPhy Works and the UPS Foundation to survey damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. It used a tethered drone, which was connected to a power source, to enable it to stay airborne for days at a time to assess flood damage and funnel aid to areas in need.

Short battery life is one of the main challenges in deploying drones in life-saving environments. DJI’s M600 model, which is used by lifesavers in Australia, has a battery life of up to 36 minutes.

Tight regulation is another. In Australia and the US, drones can only be flown during the day and in line of sight of their operator in an effort to avoid collisions with other aircraft and enhance public safety.

But in October the Trump administration launched a pilot programme to allow the testing of drones at night and outside of line of sight of their operator — an initiative that could speed up their integration into lifesaving roles.

“Safety is our paramount concern and we work very closely with the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority,” says Eddie Bennet, chief executive of the Westpac Little Ripper Lifesaver group, which operates more than 50 drones in co-ordination with lifeguards across Australia.

But he believes drones will play a bigger role in lifesaving in the future.

“We are working closely with a company developing electronic shark deterrents, which can be dropped into the water, and we already can drop the world’s smallest defibrillator from our drones,” he says. “And in the broader disaster relief situations, drones could deliver medicine, food or water and vital information to rescuers.”

Drones used in detecting sharks

Drones are not just dropping rescue pods to swimmers in distress in Australia, they are also warning swimmers when dangerous sharks are in the water.

The Westpac Little Ripper group and University of Technology Sydney have partnered to develop shark detection software that uses artificial intelligence to analyse images captured by the drone in real time. When it detects a large shark near swimmers or surfers, the drone can use its warning siren to alert them to danger or send text messages to lifeguards on the beach.

“The algorithm we have developed learns from experience by analysing lots of video footage of sharks in the water. It has an accuracy rate of up to 90 per cent,” says Michael Blumenstein, head of UTS school of software.

The research team is working on introducing multi-spectral imagery technology, which should enable the programme to penetrate deeper or murky water for sharks. The AI drone software has other applications, such as being adapted to look for marine craft.

MTF...P2  Tongue
Debate continues on adequacy of drone rules - Rolleyes

Via the Strait Times:

Drones take off in Australia, sparking debate
 [Image: ST_20180127_JPDRONE_3718113.jpg?itok=NkrXD1NR]  A shark-spotting drone with a safety flotation device attached underneath flying over Bilgola Beach, north of Sydney, last month. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Concerns raised over safety and whether tougher laws needed

Jonathan Pearlman For The Straits Times In Sydney

Australians' enthusiasm for drones is growing, with the devices being used by everyone from farmers to beach lifeguards to commercial photographers.

But the proliferation of the devices has raised concerns about their safety, prompting warnings that the nation's new-found obsession could end in catastrophe.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (Casa) estimates there are more than 100,000 privately operated drones in Australia - "most of which are used for sport and recreational purposes", a spokesman told The Straits Times.

But the precise number is unknown because non-commercial devices typically do not need to be registered.

Current rules, which were tightened last October, require private and recreational users to keep drones within line of sight and away from airports and aircraft.

The devices must be flown during the daytime only and kept 30m away from other people, and cannot fly 120m above the ground or at places where people are gathered, such as beaches, parks and sports fields. Some states require them to be kept away from wildlife such as whales and dolphins.

But there are concerns about whether drone operators are familiar with the rules. There have been near misses with aircraft, as well as incidents in which drones have crashed into apartment windows and landed on cars. Some councils have banned the use of drones over public land and there are growing calls to require users to pass a test.

Late last year, Casey Council in Melbourne banned people from using drones outside their own properties unless they had a licence. The penalty for breaking the rule is A$300 (S$316).

"The council has already collected and destroyed two drones that crash-landed, but has not issued any fines," the council's safer-communities manager, Ms Caroline Bell, told The Herald Sun last month.

Casa has penalised users for dangerous flying. It has issued 43 fines for breaching one or more rules, each of which can involve a fine of up to A$1,050. More serious infringements, or reckless operation which endangers a person, can lead to fines of up to A$10,050 or imprisonment.

"We look into all reports and where there is sufficient evidence of a safety breach, such as photos or video recordings of the breach and the person controlling the drone, further enforcement action may be taken," a Casa spokesman said.

A parliamentary inquiry has been examining drone safety rules. It was told there were 180 near misses involving the devices and other aircraft in 2016.

MP and former air crash investigator Barry O'Sullivan is deputy chairman of the inquiry. He said last year that he believed the current drone regulations were a "catastrophe waiting to happen".

He suggested licences may be necessary, likening the current rules to allowing children or unlicensed people to drive cars. "We must get out in front of this so we can restore, as best we can, air safety," he told The Australian Financial Review.

The inquiry's final report is due to be released in late March and is expected to call for tougher laws. In anticipation, the drone industry has insisted the current regime is adequate and that more rules would limit the growing use of the devices.

Chinese drone manufacturing giant DJI called the current rules "sensible". "Australia has a real opportunity to be an innovator in this field," Mr Adam Welsh, from DJI, told Sydney's Daily Telegraph on Wednesday. "There's a lot of great use cases for drones in Australia, like using drones to survey things like power lines and utilities."

Indeed, the devices are proving useful in Australia.

At the nation's beaches this summer, lifeguards have begun using drones to spot sharks and even to perform beach rescues.

Elsewhere, they are being used to identify areas where there is a risk of landslides along coastal roads.

On Jan 18, a drone was used by lifeguards to rescue two teenagers who were dragged out to sea while swimming. The drone, which was being trialled, was used to spot the boys and drop a flotation device, which allowed them to return to shore.

Nonetheless, on Wednesday, it emerged that a drone which was part of the same trial had to be crashed into the sea after it developed a mechanical problem.

A lifeguard, who was not named, told The Gold Coast Bulletin that the incident showed drones should not be used for rescues.

"The devices should be for observation only," he said. "If a drone was on the scene and couldn't perform a rescue, all it would do is watch someone drown."

MTF...P2 Tongue
New drone 'jammer' enters the Drone Wars - Confused

Via SmallCaps:

DroneShield releases new drone defence product
Filip Karinja
January 31, 2018
[Image: DroneShield-ASX-DRO-DroneGun-Tactical-pr...40x400.jpg]DroneShield's new DroneGun Tactical product.

Anti-drone security measures are going from strength to strength, alongside the rapid take-up of drones in Australia. DroneShield (ASX: DRO), a Sydney-based technology company, has added a further product to its line-up, offering a range of options enhancing drone security and anti-drone defence.

The DroneGun Tactical product follows on from DroneShield’s MKII launched in December last year – a hand-held gun that interferes with radio waves received and emitted by moving aerial vehicles (drones).

Both products offer varying features and are designed to appeal to different user-groups as DroneShield continues its development as an early-stage drone security developer serving people, organisations and critical infrastructure from intrusion from drones.

Combined with its MKII and DroneGun Tactical products, DroneShield is hoping to progress its proprietary engineering and intellectual property towards establishing a strong footing in drone defence, an industry that’s keeping pace with the large take-up of drones now being bought en-masse by consumers.

According to DroneShield, the DroneGun Tactical is available for purchase from today [January 31st] to “qualified end-users where lawful”. At a national level, legislators in different countries are approaching the issue of suitable drone defences in varying ways. In Australia, newly-introduced laws prohibit drone use higher than 120 metres (400 feet) above ground, within 30 metres of people, and, drone pilots cannot fly more than one drone at a time, according to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

However, these rules do not apply to drone flyers that hold a remote pilot licence (RePL), or operate according to a remotely piloted aircraft operator certificate (ReOC), or have prior authorisation from CASA.

DroneGun Tactical product was designed following comprehensive international military end-user trials, with a number of key features, including:
  • Lighter design with less carrying requirement
  • Long-range effectiveness at 1km or more
  • Addition of 433Mhz and 915Mhz frequencies, to ensure complete effectiveness across drone models
  • Aesthetically appealing ergonomic design
  • Further alignment with standard military specifications, including standardised NATO military battery power.
Last year, DroneShield received an operational boost when its MKII product was certified as compliant for human exposure. The certification was obtained in response to the DroneGun product advancing through procurement processes with a number of major defence and other government agencies internationally, for which this was a requirement requested by several agencies.

In a further boost last year, DroneShield received an Australian Government R&D Tax Incentive award of approximately $200,000 and is actively pursuing development of further products to add to its counter-drone range.

“qualified end-users where lawful” - Wonder if that means they will be issuing them to Department of Parliamentary Services security guards? Big Grin

+Overdue Yes

Asked Of Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Proof Hansard Page/Written 19
Portfolio Question Number 441


Senator STERLE: Have there been any discussions between CASA, the Department of Infrastructure and/or the Department of Parliamentary Services on the use of drones within the parliamentary precincts and above Parliament House? Dr Aleck: Not to my knowledge, no. Mr Carmody: Not to my knowledge. Senator STERLE: Not at all? Mr Carmody: Not to my knowledge. Senator STERLE: That's fine. I'll also let you take on notice if someone has had any further conversations between the three bodies. Mr Carmody: To clarify, if something is raised with us, a question would be raised on safety grounds or an agency, like a security agency, would put something forward to us on security grounds. Senator STERLE: I have found out since we started this questioning that the Department of Parliamentary Services has the oversight of what goes on over and above here. Mr Carmody: Yes. Senator STERLE: Please take that on notice for me. Dr Aleck: Is that just the question about whether or not we've been in contact? Senator STERLE: It is if there have been any discussions. If there have, then there are another couple of lines of questioning. If so: when, with whom, how many times, what it was about all that sort of stuff.

MTF...P2 Cool
Hmmmm....model aircraft radio gear operates on those frequencies too, however *most* r/c flyers belong to and fly from r/c clubs. I know of one such club that is within the circuit area of an airport (having flown in one way or another from both - they have a pretty good relationship) and I have to wonder if this new technology will inadvertently wipe out a model aircraft or two...
Further to my previous post, I had a look at the DJI webpage to confirm my assertion that drones and r/c aircraft operate on the same frequency. I was right - both r/c models and drones operate on the 2.4GHz band, although drones can also operate on 5.3GHz.

This means that the DroneGun has to "block" both the 2.4GHz band and the 5.3GHz band in order to disable the drones.

Now, picture this...

As I said earlier, I know of at least one r/c model flying club located within the circuit area of a small local airport. Models are flown inside the circuit - in fact, many's the time I've watched them flying from above.

Now let's say there's a problem with drones in the area....somebody's flying a drone on the approach path to the airport, and the authorities are called in to deal with this menace. They can't find the drone pilot (assuming that's the first thing they'd try to do, but we *are* talking about CASA..) so they decide to disable the drone instead. So they employ the DroneGun, and the drone falls from the sky. Fine. A drone doesn't really need any forward speed to stay airborne - it relies on differential speeds from its motors to generate forward speed....take that away, and you have a streamlined anvil on your hands...or head.

A radio controlled aircraft, however, flies *exactly* the same way as the real thing does. The engine/prop developes thrust, which propels the aircraft through the air. If you disable communication between the transmitter and receiver, you have a problem. On the one hand, the throttle may go to idle, which means the aircraft descends and eventually crashes. Or, the throttle may stay at its current setting, in which case, the aircraft does whatever it's trimmed to do. Until it runs out of fuel (or battery power, in the case of electric models) and crashes. Or the throttle advances to full power, in which case the model is likely to climb. Until it runs out of fuel or battery power, and crashes.
The point being, the model will keep flying, at least, for a while. And without any sort of control from the ground, you have a rogue aircraft, and the potential for a collision until the model crashes.

Now, most models carry enough fuel for a flight time of around 15-20 minutes under normal throttle settings. I have one that will stay at full throttle for 25 minutes, but that's another story.. How far, assuming all the planets line up, can that model travel in that time? Where will it crash? How bad will the injuries be to any person it hits on the way down? Or, even worse, how much damage can it do to any aircraft it hits? I would wager it'll be more that a have a propeller spinning at upwards of 10-15,000 (yes, that's THOUSAND) rpm, and those props are pretty touch. I've seen the damage they can do to an errant finger, and it ain't pretty. Furthermore, the bigger the model - and we can get models 25kg plus - the more kinetic energy in the collision. I guess the trade off is the bigger the model, the more chance you have to see and avoid....but not much!
There are more things in heaven: below 400’.

Choc frog for CW – highlighting just another area CASA have ‘ignored’. Whether by design or ignorance is immaterial. They are supposed to be the epicentre of all matters ‘safety’ related and should have seriously considered the ‘frequency’ bands in use; and, the ramifications of using ‘the DroneGun’. It’s just tough luck if an errant drone gets ‘taken down’ over the freeway you happen to be doing 110 KpH along and it lands on your windscreen – ain’t it?

Why, Oh why, don’t’ CASA talk to the Radio Modellers folk; they have great rules, top training and; as dedicated enthusiasts, are full bottle on the ‘details’ surrounding operating ‘unmanned’ projectiles, capable of great speed, which, translated into kinetic energy, has the potential to create havoc. FCOL – you need to have the family pooch secured for road travel – a 10 Kg dog accelerated at even a lowly 30 Kph can create a ‘problematic’ situation – even a cricket ball is potentially lethal.

I get annoyed when slick, glib, get off the hook answers are provided to serious matters. Drones are, in so many ways, useful. However – as the potential risk matrix expands, the government has a right to expect a qualified, sensible response from the very expensive ‘advice’ team they employ i.e. CASA.

The problem with sicking your head in the sand is, that your arse is exposed; sans sand, as 'twere..

(You only need listen to the first 40 seconds - then it becomes horrible).

Oh - The sexual life of a camel
Is stranger than anyone thinks;
At the height of the mating season,
It tries to bugger the Sphinx.

But the Sphinx’s posterior orifice, is blocked by the sands of the Nile.
Which accounts for the hump of the Camel
And, the Sphinx’s inscrutable smile.

Toot - toot.
Oh, and something else to think about...

If you happen to go to almost any r/c flying club in the country, you'll often see not just one aircraft flying, but many. At the clubs I used to fly at, it was not uncommon for up to half a dozen aircraft to be flying at the same time. This, of course, was in the pre-2.4GHz days, when frequencies were often shared between various members, and you had a key system so that if one person was using channel 7, nobody else could use it until he was down.

With the advent of 2.4GHz, transmitters are uniquely bound to individual receivers, so there's next to no chance of inadvertently zapping someone else's aircraft out of the sky if you switch on your transmitter. In fact, theoretically, if you had 100 club members, you could see 100 aircraft in the sky.

Now what does this mean in terms of the DroneGun? Well, imagine 100 rogue aircraft in the sky at the same time....

Back in about 2005/2006 there was a model aircraft on the market that had, of all things, an autopilot. This was a training aircraft, and you could program it to fly straight and level if the student got disoriented. If I recall correctly, it only worked if the sun was within certain angles above the horizon of all things, although I can't remember exactly what triggered it.
Anyhow, a new pilot turned up at our club with this aircraft, and told me he'd disabled the autopilot function. When I asked why, he told me it was because CASA didn't want model aircraft flying without any means of control from the ground.
A Dronego in Las Vegas - TICK TOCK Barnaby... Dodgy

Via KTNV CH 13 action news Las Vegas.. Wink

Video shows drone coming close to plane landing at McCarran
Tom George
7:26 PM, Feb 2, 2018
11:09 AM, Feb 4, 2018


LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - A shocking viral video showing a drone coming close to a plane landing near McCarran Airport in Las Vegas is now being investigated by the FAA.

The video, shot by an unknown drone pilot, shows the drone taking off from what looks to be the parking lot at Whitney Ranch, then flying dangerously close to a Frontier passenger plane heading to land at McCarran Airport.

It's unclear when the video was shot and who was behind the controls.  The video has gotten the attention of the FAA.

Drone expert Steven Williams said he's shocked by what he saw in the idea.  Williams, who is with Alpha Drone, said it appears to be a racing drone.  He says without a GPS, manual controls allow for more movement.  

"You know, if he was to hit the plane or there were any transmission signals that could interfere with that plane, he could honestly jam something in the plane, anything could happen," he says.

Regulations allow a maximum of 400 feet for flying drones.  In this case, Williams estimates the drone was at least 1,500 feet in the air.

Henderson Police are also investigating this case, and the FBI was made aware of it as well.

In cases like this, people can get a nearly $1,500 fine from the FAA, and a federal criminal fine of up to $250,000 and three years in jail.

MTF...P2  Cool
I the people at JB HiFi know the regulations? I saw some DJI drones (as well as other cheaper ones) in there the other may well be worth seeing how much the staff know.
Update to Drongo drone video - Undecided

Via - Wink

Quote:Reckless Drone Flight in Las Vegas Raises Concerns

Posted By: Malek Murisonon: February 05, 2018
A dramatic video bouncing around the internet shows an FPV pilot flying directly above a landing passenger plane heading into land at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. The footage has been widely shared and condemned by the community.

In this industry, it doesn’t take much to kick off a fresh batch of negative headlines. Calls for stricter regulations on drone pilots are never too far away. We’ve seen as much with the reactions to the many ‘near misses’ and suspected collisions in recent months.

Read more: Collisions: How to Break the Cycle of Conjecture, Fear & Drone Negativity

We also know that a drone doesn’t even have to be involved (it could just be a bat or a plastic bag) to cause blanket negative coverage for a few media cycles.

With those things in mind, all we can do is condemn the reckless pilot responsible for the video below, who will hopefully be identified and fined, at the very least. We understand that the FAA is looking into the following footage…

It’s impossible to defend this video. There is next to no chance the pilot was attempting anything other than to record a dramatic shot of a passenger plane from above. You don’t take-off under a busy flight path by accident. Just as worrying is how many attempts it took, and how many other manned aircraft were put at risk, before this video was taken.

This won’t be the last reckless video we see

The sad fact is that incursions like this are likely to continue unless authorities are seen to take action. And even then, the promise of notoriety (even of the anonymous variety) might still make the risk worth it for a small number of stunt pilots.

Ultimately we have to blame the people responsible, not the technology. And find ways to mitigate the risks posed by this small minority.

In a statement posted alongside the video, pilot training provider and general drone community platform Drone U said:

Quote:Drone U Leadership and the entire membership community want to join with other industry leaders to fully CONDEMN this reckless and criminal act. Drone U and it’s members work tirelessly in making our skies safe for all users of the National Airspace System. This pilot’s actions not only endangered the flying public, but has the potential to discredit an entire sUAS industry.
It is the opinion of Drone U and it’s members that the pilot receive swift and just punishment for this example of irresponsible and reckless flight. There is no excuse for this type of criminal behavior.

You can read the AMA’s reaction here

MTF...P2 Cool
Drone Wars update: 13/02/18


Quote:Drone safety: DJI forces drone pilots to pass safety test before lift-off in Australia
AUSTRALIAN drone pilots have been slugged with a record number of fines. Now they’ll need to pass a pre-flight test before they get off the ground.

Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
News Corp Australia Network February 13, 201811:41am

[Image: 5f65445515f106d2bf100055be49c839]

The world’s leading drone maker, DJI, will introduce a mandatory pre-flight quiz for Australian drone users today.Source:Supplied

AUSTRALIAN drone pilots will be forced to pass a quiz before taking to the skies under a new initiative launched by the world’s largest drone maker tomorrow.

The mandatory exam, created by DJI in conjunction with Australia’s Civil Aviation and Safety Authority, will automatically appear in the app used to fly its drones and follows a risky year for Australian drone users in which 32 were issued fines and “hundreds” received written safety notices for flying the devices in a dangerous manner.

DJI Asia Pacific public policy head Adam Welsh said the company launched the drone flight exam to ensure new users knew how to legally fly drones in Australia and didn’t give the technology a bad reputation.

[Image: 260e1c87cebed1a4782b70e2c2969eb4]

DJI Mavic Air drone users will face a nine-question quiz on drone laws before launching their device.Source:Supplied

“The majority of our users are flying in a safe and responsible manner but this is just to make sure everyone understands the rules,” he said.

“Not everyone might have looked at the CASA rules.”

READ MORE: $900 fine for flying drone over celebrity wedding

Pilots will be required to correctly answer all nine questions in the DJI Go or Go 4 app before launching their drone, and the quiz will also be posed to foreign flyers who use DJI drones while visiting Australia.

“If you come to see the Commonwealth Games, for example, once you activate the app it will detect you’re in Australia and prompt you to take the quiz,” Mr Welsh said. “Everyone should know the rules.”

Australia will be the third country to receive the DJI pre-flight quiz, after the Chinese firm launched similar tests in the United States in October and United Kingdom last December.

[Image: 9334f70aa19f42856af7a387d31ec9f1]

Sydneysiders at Manly, NSW, photographed by a drone. CASA issued a record number of fines for dangerous drone use last year. Picture: Toby ZernaSource:News Corp Australia

CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said the Authority welcomed the rules reminder, particularly as the number of drones flown in Australia skyrocketed last year.

“It should reinforce to everyone who owns a drone that there are responsibilities that come with that and one them is understanding the laws around flying drones,” he said.

“Most people who fly drones do so recreationally and they’re not required to have a pilot’s licence and there’s no registration system.”

Mr Gibson said CASA issued a record 32 fines for dangerous drone use in Australia last year, and sent out “hundreds” of warning letters to users who appeared to have broken the rules.

Incidents included a drone flown dangerously close to children at an Easter egg hunt in Canberra, a drone flown into restricted airspace in Sydney Harbour, and another that hovered over the wedding party of TV presenters Sylvia Jeffreys and Peter Stefanovic.

Australian drone laws stipulate drones must not be flown within 30 metres of other people, must only be flown during the day, cannot fly higher than 120m, and cannot fly within 5.5km of an airport.

Mr Gibson said it wasn’t clear whether the increasing number of penalties issued for dangerous drone use was due to riskier behaviour or simply a greater number of drones used in Australia, but greater education was needed.

Australian drone users can check whether it’s legal to fly a drone in their area by using CASA’s Can I Fly There app or checking


'People could be killed' by dangerous drones in fire zones: DFES

By Staff writers Updated13 February 2018 — 12:36pm first published at 11:23am

Dozens of people could have been killed as a result of drones flying dangerously close to water bombers in two separate bushfires over the weekend, according to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES).

A drone reportedly flew within metres from the rotors of a water bomber as it drew water from a lake at the Port Kennedy golf course on Sunday, and the incident has prompted concern from authorities.

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DFES says lives are being put at risk by drone pilots flying too close to fire zones.

Photo: File image

Emergency services has warned as a result of the incident, onlookers who crowded around the lake to watch the scene and the aerial firefighting crew could have been killed if the drone and helicopter had made contact.

In a second incident on Sunday, a drone was also seen flying near the front of a bushfire in Australind, where air crews were working.

Both incidents were reported to Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), and drone pilots could face a fine up to $9000 for breaking CASA regulations.

DFES Assistant Commissioner Gary Gifford said water bombers fly at about 200 kilometres an hour, often manoeuvring in poor visibility, close to each other and other obstacles - such as trees, radio masts and power lines.

"While it might be tempting to record footage, drones pose a major safety risk to firefighting personnel in the air and people on the ground, who are often drawn to watch water bombers in action," he said.

"If a helicopter goes down, it is unlikely that the crew as well as any nearby onlookers will survive.

"Even a small drone colliding with or obstructing a bombing aircraft could have catastrophic results."

If you see someone operating a drone near a bushfire where aircraft is being used, report it to WA Police on 131 444.

MTF...P2  Cool
Chopper crashes avoiding collision with drone - Undecided

Forwarded to me by Cap'n Wannabe... Wink


Charleston Chopper Crash Blamed On Private Drone

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by Tyler Durden
Sun, 02/18/2018 - 17:55

Officials at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are investigating a serious helicopter crash that may have been triggered by a drone Wednesday near the southern tip of Daniel Island, South Carolina, in what could be the first-ever drone-related crash of an aircraft in the United States.

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The crash was initially reported on Wednesday by WCSC-TV, a CBS-affiliated television station for the Lowcountry area of South Carolina in the United States that is licensed to Charleston, which obtained a copy of the incident report from the police stating that a Robinson R22 helicopter struck a tree and crash-landed.

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The private helicopter instructor told police, he was conducting a training exercise at approximately 3:30 p.m, when the incident occurred on the tip of Daniel Island. His student was practicing “low impact and hover taxi maneuvers” above undeveloped land on the island, as a white “DJI Phantom quad-copter” breached their airspace, the report states. The instructor immediately commandeered all flight controls from the student and attempted to avoid a potentially deadly air collision, that is when the tail rotor of the helicopter struck a tree, triggering a crash landing.

The student told the police they were at a maximum altitude of 50 feet when the quadcopter breached their airspace.

She said when the helicopter’s tail struck the tree, “several pieces of the helicopter hit surrounding brush causing the helicopter to turn on its side when it landed,” reported WCSC. Luckily, neither the pilot nor the student was injured, though the helicopter sustained severe damage.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced Friday it is opening an investigation into the accident, spokesman Chris O’Neil said. “The NTSB is aware of the pilot’s report that he was maneuvering to avoid a drone, but the NTSB has not yet been able to independently verify that information,” O’Neil said in a statement.
Bloomberg quoted a statement from drone maker DJI which said:

Quote:“DJI is trying to learn more about this incident and stands ready to assist investigators,” the company said in a statement. “While we cannot comment on what may have happened here, DJI is the industry leader in developing educational and technological solutions to help drone pilots steer clear of traditional aircraft.

The accident investigation is the second incident involving a drone in less than two weeks. Earlier this month, we reported the FAA is investigating an incident in which someone piloted a racing drone feet from a commercial jetliner on approach to land at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. The video below is quite startling:

According to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Michael Huerta said back in March 2017 that more than 777,000 drone registrations have been filed with the agency. Bloomberg notes that the FAA is having trouble monitoring all the consumer drones in the sky.

Quote:The FAA in a study based on computerized models last fall concluded that drones would cause more damage than birds of similar size because they contain metal parts. Significant damage to windshields, wings and tail surfaces of aircraft was possible, the study found. The surging number of episodes combined with a regulatory system that makes it difficult to monitor drone flights has alarmed traditional aviation groups.

“The likelihood that a drone will collide with an airline aircraft is increasing,” said a letter to U.S. lawmakers earlier this week from Airlines for America, a trade group representing large carriers, and the Air Line Pilots Association and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the unions that represent pilots and controllers.

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